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ITC judge finds Samsung to be infringing Apple text-selection patent

An International Trade Commission judge has ruled that Samsung infringed on an Apple patent by including a text-selection feature in its mobile devices.

A figure from Apple's U.S. Patent No. RE41,922

In a decision issued on March 26 but kept confidential until Thursday, an ITC judge gave a preliminary decision that found Samsung to be infringing on one of two Apple patents in question. Depending on the decision of the full ITC commission, the devices that include the infringing technology — including Samsung's Galaxy, Transform, and Nexus devices, as well as others — could face import bans in the United States, Reuters reported on Friday.

The patent in question is U.S. Patent No. RE41,922, covering a "method and apparatus for providing translucent images on a computer display." Patent litigation commentator Florian Mueller notes that Samsung features found particularly to be in violation are the text selection feature of the Android Browser application and the translucent buttons of the Android photo gallery.

The same decision found that Samsung did not infringe on a second Apple patent in which a device can tell whether a microphone or other attachment is plugged into its microphone jack. While the ruling was issued on March 26, it was kept confidential until Thursday in order to allow Apple and Samsung to redact sensitive business information.

The full commission will decide whether to uphold or overturn the judge's decision, with a final decision expected in August.